Whether you use Facebook to share pictures of cute babies, pets and double rainbows, to raise awareness for an important cause, or as a brand evangelist or business owner, no doubt you have faced some level of concern about Facebook privacy.

The concerns and tactics for managing social media privacy are as varied as the people using the tools themselves. This is the first of a 3 part series where I’ll be sharing some common questions and solutions to address when it comes to using Facebook for:

  1. Personal Profiles
  2. Business Pages
  3. The Hybrid Approach

We start with the personal profile because even if your intention is to use Facebook primarily to grow your business with a brand page, you need to have a personal profile from which to manage it.

Let’s start off with a privacy checkup by going right here now!

Step 1: Who Can Find Me?

Whether you have an actual stalker or simply want to avoid grade school friends, exes and Tinder nightmares, or those “less than tactful” family members from finding you on Facebook, make sure your “Who can look me up” settings reflect the most restrictive setting available, which are indicated below.

Step 2: A Fresh Start

What if you’ve historically been an open book online but now you’re ready to close that chapter? Perhaps you’re embarking on a job hunt or working your way up the ranks. Maybe you’ve gotten married or had children and have shifted your perspective on your social media use. You might have started a business and want a fresh canvas to craft your personal brand from. For some, a relationship status change comes with serious repercussions and you need to seriously lock that door.

Facebook offers somewhat of a fresh start. First, note that you can set a default to specify who sees your Facebook posts, which can then be updated on a post by post basis. But, for those looking to lock down the past without hunting & pecking, there is an option called “Limit Past Posts”. This changes ALL posts, whether ‘public’ or ‘friends of friends’, to ‘friends only’, in one fell swoop. Keep in mind, if any “person in question” is still your Facebook friend, you’ll want to take the corresponding step of unfriending or better yet, blocking them.

Step 3: Protecting my Peeps

One of the most popular Facebook scams, known as ‘Cloning’ is simplified for the scammer when the victim has a publicly viewable friends list. The goal of the shady cloner is to connect to the victim’s friends and message them with a false plea for help in order to scam money out of their most kind hearted pals. How not to be a victim? This right here….

Step 4: Hide Your Kids…

As I mentioned earlier, the spectrum of privacy concern is as varied as the individuals using Facebook. Some feel very safe tagging themselves and family members and sharing the fact that they are on the go. Others, go as far as to blur out the faces of their children when posting family vacation updates, and only posting said snaps after they’ve actually been home for two weeks. There are typically powerful reasons for this. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, here are some tips to know, whether you use them yourself or share them with a friend.

One of the simplest things you can do when taking and sharing pictures of your family is to turn off your location settings so that it doesn’t report where you are. So you have go back and turn it back on to get your Lyft or use Waze. It could be work the extra tap.

Did you know that even if you don’t post your location intentionally via social media, you could still have GPS coordinates in the metadata of your image? Yep. Here’s how you put an end to that on your iPhone:

And here for those on Android.

Remember that Facebook cloning scam I mentioned before? The even shadier perps use pictures of your kids. I’ve personally seen it happen to friends. Another tactic employed by cautious parents is to use a Watermark App for iPhone or Android to stamp all pictures of their children to prevent this. Remember that Facebook terms of service require a child be at least 13 years old to have an account.

Facebook is meant to be fun! Putting certain privacy practices into place can make for a more pleasant online experience where you can take comfort that your identity, and physical space, are not compromised due to inaction.

Next up we’ll talk about privacy as it relates to using a Facebook page to promote your business, and the steps you can take to keep your personal side under wraps.